On Robert Frost, Electric Cars, and Poetry

January 30, 2013

Poet Robert Frost died 50 years ago yesterday, and Poets & Writers magazine offered the challenge of writing a poem using Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” as a model.

Robert Frost

Frost was born in 1874, some time after Robert Anderson (a suspected relation to this author) invented a crude electric carriage in Scotland, and some 39 years after Thomas Davenport of Brandon, Vermont, built his own small-scale electric car. Davenport also invented the first American-built DC electric motor.

Robert Anderson’s Electric Carriage, circa 1832

Perhaps because I was working on some electric vehicle materials in my day-job yesterday, I couldn’t resist penning this over lunch, with apologies to the poet: 
“Stopping by the Roadside on a Snowy Evening” 
Whose car this is I think I know; 

No keys I need to make it go. 

You may not hear me driving by 

‘Cause electric cars are soft as snow. 
My finger on the button here 

Will make the engine start and gear 

And waken not the woods and lake 

–the quietest engine of the year. 
I give the foot-pedal a tiny tap 

And feel the seat belt on my lap. 

The only other sound’s the hush 

Of lofty wind and goosewing flap. 
The road is lively, quick, and steep. 

But I have batteries to keep, 

And miles to drive before I sleep, 

And miles to drive before I sleep. 
–Scott Edward Anderson 

Davenport’s Electric Car, 1835

One Response to “On Robert Frost, Electric Cars, and Poetry”

  1. Lee Langbaum Says:

    Could have been penned by Frost……lunch time can be so productive!!!!! Xoxo

    Sent from my iPhone

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